Today we’ve got another very exciting collaboration project I’ve just been dying to share with you. We had great fun on our last collaboration, the Clockwork Natura Gown, and we wanted to keep pushing ourselves. This time, I wanted to not only see not only how machine embroidery could be applied to traditional fashion, but also to experiment with just what machine embroidery does best: stitch dimension.
So often we rely on design’s bold colors and outlining to define themselves, but real embroidery can do much more than that. Stitches alone offer a sculptural quality that when utilized, can bring a design to life just through their directions and fills. When looking back at embroidery through the ages, I was particularly inspired by the ornate qualities of the Baroque period. I thought it the perfect example of a “tapestry” of stitches and depth.
The test then, is to remove everything but stitch direction, and pull out a design that offers something only this kind of embroidery can… a deep and wonderful texture all of its own.
The Baroque Punk series is all about juxtapositions. The designs themselves are in a classic, ornate style, reflective of embroideries of old. The art itself, though, offers a twist on the theme, as they are heavily inspired by the alternate stylings of classic tattoos: sparrows, skulls, roses, and pistols. The jacket itself had to be a mix of these contradictions.
To pull such a thing to life, Urban Threads teamed up with Minneapolis designer Laura Fulk, whose highly acclaimed apparel has won multiple national awards and walked countless midwest catwalks. Laura wove together a beautifully tailored and modern jacket, juxtaposed with the raw edges of patchworked and hand-dyed fabrics. The embroidery itself was layered on top of the appliqued pieces, creating a rich tapestry and raw texture on top of a sharply tailored outfit.
The result, we think, is pretty awesome mix of styles.
The detail of the embroidery relies only on stitch direction and stitch type. Flat fills are mostly overlaid with thick satins, a stitch that offers beautiful dimension and depth in the light. Each design was crafted so it would both let the design be read clearly and catch the light from different angles.
The Baroque Punk series comes in a variety of sizes, so even those with small hoops can recreate this larger tapestry effect by laying out these designs in one seamless piece. Place designs next to each other, and mirror others, to create a full collage of beautifully stitched designs. It doesn’t take a giant hoop to create a grand effect.
Most of all, the aim of this project is to get people to reevaluate what they think machine embroidery can do. If you play to it’s strengths and combine it with some seriously sweet design skill, it can really shine, and I hope to see it on more projects like this.
Given all that, one must give some mad props to the team of talent was pulled together to bring this project to life. None of this of course would have had such a gorgeous tapestry to live on if it weren’t for the stylings and skill of fashion designer Laura Fulk, who designed, dyed and stitched this whole jacket together in an amazingly short amount of time. The images were shot by photographer Burt Edwards, with model Lucie Mulligan rocking the look. Rockstar stylist Sara Capers, who made me look awesome for our last shoot, showed just what she can do to turn an updo into a mowhawk. We were all suitably impressed.
In all, this collaboration was a blast. I just love how the embroidery looks on this jacket, and it’s given me all kinds of ideas on where it can go next. From the machine to the catwalk and beyond, I hope.
Want to see just what you can do with the designs? Grab them all right here!
P.S. Curious about the project? Stay tuned; on Monday we’ll have an exclusive behind the scenes post on the making of this gorgeous jacket.
———————————————————————————————————-This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery. Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.